Tiger Woods opens up physical shape, LIV Golf and St Andrews in wide-ranging interview

As they say in Scotland, Tiger Woods likes a blether these days. The man who was once renowned for offering up very little in press conferences now seems perfectly happy to chew the fat.

In his pre-150th Open visit to the media centre at St Andrews, the 15-time major winner covered various topics and had his audience captivated in a way that was once reserved for on the golf course.

Here’s what he had to say about himself as he makes his first appearance on Scottish soil since a serious car crash, this week’s milestone event and some of the big talking points in the game:

His physical shape

Tiger Woods looked to be enjoying himself as he faced a media grilling ahead of the 150th Open at St Andrews. Picture: Harry How/Getty Images.
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“Well, my body certainly can get better, but realistically, not a whole lot. It's been through a lot, and, at 46, you don't quite heal as well as you do at 26. I also have a lot of hardware in my leg, so it is what it is. So it is what it is. Just lucky enough, in our sport, to be able to play as long as we are able to and, especially on links golf courses like this, you can continue into your 50s.”

Going forward

“I'm not going to play a full schedule ever again. My body just won't allow me to do that. But that's no longer my future. So this is what my future is, a very limited schedule. I'm going to have to somehow figure out a way to practise at home efficiently and come to these events maybe just a little bit earlier and get more looks and try to get a better feel for it.”

His first memory of Old Course

“My very first practise round, I couldn't believe how stupidly hard this place is because I happened to have the tide change and played every hole into the wind. I have a photo in my office of me sitting there (on the Swilcan Bridge) and it means a lot. I mean, the history and the people that have walked over that bridge.”

Talk of 59 on Old Course

“Even with the advancements in technology, this golf course still stands the test of time. You get the winds like we did today, it's a helluva test. On 10, I hit a 6-iron from 120 yards. It was blowing so hard. It's amazing the ingenuity that they had then that this golf course has stood the test of time to the best players.”

150th Open

“This does feel like it's the biggest Open Championship we've ever had. It feels more historic than it normally has. And it's hard to believe that because we are coming back to the home of golf. It is history every time we get a chance to play here.”

St Andrews farewells for legends

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“Everyone has seemed to have made their farewell there. I got a chance to watch Arnold [Palmer] do it. Sorry. I watched Arnold hit his first tee shot on the second day in '95, and that was quite special. I played probably about four or five holes behind Jack [Nicklaus] and Tom [Watson] when Jack retired in '05. And hearing the roars get louder and louder and louder as we came towards the finish.”

Greg Norman being snubbed by R&A

“The R&A obviously have their opinions and their rulings and their decision. Greg has done some things that I don't think is in the best interest of our game, and we're coming back to probably the most historic and traditional place in our sport. I believe it's the right thing.”

Top players joining LIV Golf

“I disagree with it. I think that what they've done is they've turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position. Some players have never got a chance to even experience it. They've gone right from the amateur ranks right into that organisation.”

Future of the game

“I'm very optimistic. We're in the greatest golf boom ever right now because of Covid. It's allowed us as a sport to get outside and be outside and to participate and do some physical activity and get out of the house and still not worry about Covid. There's so many new, young golfers that are coming ups, o the game has gotten better, and it's only going to continue to get that way. I hope that we all understand that and continue the growth of the game in a positive way.”

Educating kids about golf

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“The history of the game is certainly something that I've taken to heart. I think it's a very important part of understanding the development of our game, where we've come from, especially for me, for a person who's had to struggle at times for admittance into clubhouses or onto golf courses. There's so many great champions, like yesterday for instance (in the Celebration of Champions) that I hope some of these kids who were watching at home got a chance to appreciate that, to see them playing out there.”

Son Charlie

“He understands the history of the game because I make it important to understand where this game has come from and also his heritage, where he's come from. He's come from a very mixed background. So just understanding where you come from and understanding this game, how hard I had to work to get to where I was at. I had to earn it every step of the way. Nothing's ever given to you. You have to go out there and earn it, and I earned it through the dirt. I'm very proud of that.”

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